Google’s Pixel phones have built up reputation: Since the launch of the original Pixel phone in 2016, the Google Pixel have been the phones with the best cameras. In fact, so good are the cameras in the phones like the Google Pixel 2, and now the Pixel 3, that on these pages over here at the India Today Tech we have deemed then better than even a regular Rs 20,000 or Rs 30,000 point and shoot camera. But these great camera phones are also expensive. The Pixel 3 price in India starts at Rs 71,000. What if you need a phone with great camera but don’t want to pay this much? Get the Pixel 2 XL, which is effectively selling for Rs 35,000 in the latest Flipkart Big Billion Days sale.
In fact, if you do end up getting the Pixel 2 XL, compared to what the Pixel 3 XL offers you won’t miss much when it comes camera performance. This is because the core camera hardware in the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 3 is mostly same. And even if there are differences, Google hasn’t talked about them much. The software features are different as the Pixel 3 get some new options in the camera, but most of these options will also come to the Pixel 2 XL camera in the coming weeks through a software update.
But before I talk more on that, first about the Flipkart deal for the Pixel 2 XL. If you recall, the day Google launched the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, the company also announced that it is slashing the price on the Pixel 2 XL. The new India price for the Pixel 2 XL is now Rs 45,499. On this price, Flipkart is giving a flat discount of Rs 5,499, making the price Rs 40,000.
Additionally, there are two more offers on the phone.
— If you pay using a HDFC Bank card, you get additional 10 per cent discount on the phone. This discount is limited to the maximum of Rs 2500.
— And if you also opt for EMI scheme while you are making the payment through an HDFC card, you get additional Rs 2500 discount.
When combined, effectively you get Rs 5,000 more discount on the Pixel 2 XL when you are buying it for Rs 40,000, effectively reducing the money you are paying to Rs 35,000. Pretty neat deal, we see.
The question now is, why the neat deal? When Pixel 2 — and not the Pixel 2 XL — was selling at a price of Rs 39,999 in December last year in India, Here is what we wrote about its camera, which is the same as the Pixel 2 XL camera:
“I still get better results with a DSLR camera, but clicking a photo with the right settings, and then processing it rightly, takes a lot of time. In comparison, Pixel 2 is a more-user friendly camera. Its AI driven software really makes it easy to click photos. You just point and shoot, and most of the time – exceptions are wildlife shooting, long zoom shooting, extremely low light shooting, very specific scenes like the ones in which you want sunstars for light – you will get great results from the Pixel 2 or the Pixel 2 XL.”
What we said in December 2017 rings true in October 2018 as well. Chances are that now the Pixel 2 XL will lose the crown of the best mobile for photography to the Pixel 3 XL. But the difference between the two is still going to be negligible for most parts. Both the Pixel 2 XL and the Pixel 3 XL use same primary image sensor — a 12-megapixel sensor with dual-pixel technology. The Pixel 3 XL, however, according to Google has an optically sharper lens, something that enables Super Res Zoom feature in the new Pixel. But barring the Super Res Zoom, in other aspects the Pixel 2 XL and the Pixel 3 XL cameras are almost the same.
On the front, the Pixel 3 XL has two cameras, one of which enables wider-angle selfies for group shots. But other than this feature, yet again the Pixel 2 XL and the Pixel 3 XL front camera features and performance are nearly identical.
There are some software features that the Pixel 3 XL will soon get. These include the Playground — AR characters in your photo frame — and Night Shot, a special mode for low-light photos. The Pixel 2 XL will also get both features through a software.
In addition to camera features, the Pixel 2 XL will also get support for Duplex — Google’s smart voice AI — and smart call screening. Android 9 Pie is already available in phone. In other words, except the design, screen size and a new Snapdragon 845 processor, the Pixel 3 XL isn’t all that much different from the Pixel 2 XL.
So, just to summarise: If you are eying the Pixel 3 for its camera but are hesitant to spend upwards of Rs 70,000 on it, you must look at the Pixel 2 XL. In the current sale it is going to be available for Rs 35,000. Even at Rs 40,000, it costs less than half of the Pixel 3 XL, which is coming to India with a starting price of Rs 83,000.